With a Bayer-Sanofi Executive Switch, Sanofi Creates Two New Global Business Units

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Paris-based Sanofi announced it is refocusing two of its international business units. The goal is to create more focus on mature markets and emerging markets.

The company plans to form a new Primary Care global business unit. It will combine the product portfolios from its existing Diabetes and Cardiovascular (DCV) unit with Established Products, which are presently part of the General Medicines & Emerging Markets (GEM) global business unit. This new Primary Care unit will focus its operations and resources on mature markets.

Dieter Weinand has been appointed executive vice president of the new Primary Care business unit, effective November 1. He will report directly to chief executive officer Olivier Brandicourt and join the Executive Committee. Weinand will be based in Bridgewater, New Jersey.

Weinand is a U.S. citizen and has spent 30 years in the industry. His previous experiences include operational and strategic roles at Warner-Lambert, Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb. His most recent position was as head of Bayer’s pharmaceuticals division. Before that, he was president, Global Commercialization & Portfolio Management at Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc.

Stefan Oelrich, the current head of the Diabetes and Cardiovascular (DCV) global business unit is leaving Sanofi to join Bayer AG as a member of its Board of Management and head of its Pharmaceuticals division. This is something of a swap, because that is the position Weinand had prior to joining Sanofi. Oelrich began his career at Bayer in 1992. He ran Sanofi’s global diabetes franchise starting in June 2016. Oelrich took on his current position at Sanofi in October 2017. From 2011 and 2015 he was the company’s General Manager in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Oelrich is a German citizen.

“Dieter is a seasoned professional with significant experience in the pharmaceutical sector, having successfully launched and marketed some of the most innovative medicines in the last few years,” Brandicourt said in a statement. “He has a proven track record in change management and helping challenged businesses reach their full potential. As we welcome Dieter into the organization, I would like to thank Stefan for his excellent contributions to Sanofi over the years and wish him all the best in his next endeavor.”

The second unit will be called China & Emerging Markets, and it will be run by Olivier Charmeil, who is currently the head of the General Medicines & Emerging Markets (GEM) global business unit. This division will focus on what Sanofi called “the unique characteristics and tremendous growth opportunities in emerging markets, particularly in China which is Sanofi’s second largest market after the United States.” Charmeil will continue on the Executive Committee. This unit is expected to launch at the beginning of next year.

A French citizen, Charmeil began his career at Banque de l’Union europeenne from 1989 to 1994, joining Sanofi Pharma in 1994 as head of Business Development. In 2006, he was appointed Head of Asia Pharma Operations and in 2008, Pharma Operations Japan, in addition to Asia/Pacific & Japan Vaccines in February 2009. He ran Sanofi Pasteur since January 2011, where he was named executive vice president in mid-2015.

Sanofi’s three remaining global business units, Sanofi Genzyme, Sanofi Pasteur and Consumer Healthcare won’t change.

Like most other companies in the diabetes space, Sanofi is battling increased pricing pressure. In addition, its insulin product Lantus is losing market share.

“Bayer is also grappling with a drug sales challenge, though it’s further down the road than the issues facing Sanofi,” reports Bloomberg. “Xarelto, the heart drug responsible for one-fifth of Bayer’s prescription drug sales, will lose patent protection in less than five years, leaving the German company little time to find another growth driver. Meanwhile, Bayer has focused its resources on boosting its agriculture business by buying Monsanto Co., leaving fewer resources to do health deals.”

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